Prominent hospital trust 'dogged by failure'

THE PROGRESS of a prominent self- governing NHS hospital trust has been dogged by management shortcomings and a failure to deliver promised benefits to patients and staff, according to senior trust members and doctors.

The creation of the Bradford Hospitals Trust as part of the changes imposed on the NHS 18 months ago exposed such weaknesses in its management and accounting systems that it has been forced to consider returning to district health authority control.

After monitoring the hospital group over its first year as a trust for his BBC Television Troubleshooter series, Sir John Harvey-Jones, the industrialist, said that huge investment was needed to fulfil the Government's promise that money would follow patients under the changes.

In the programme, to be broadcast tomorrow night, Sir John tells managers they are 'steering blind' with no clear, long-term financial strategy. The programme charts the frustrations felt by several consultants, for whom promises of better facilities and staff have failed to materialise. 'There is nothing but disappointed people, being let down in this place,' Sir John says.

Rodney Walker, a Bradford businessman who chairs the hospital trust, complains in the programme that many of the new freedoms claimed by health ministers to be the hallmark of trusts are illusory.

'They are not real freedoms. We cannot go out and invest money of our choice into developing the estates at one of our main sites, the Bradford Royal Infirmary, to enable us to make revenue savings elsewhere,' he said.

Apart from the rambling Victorian buildings of the infirmary and St Luke's, both in the city, the trust runs an elderly care hospital, Bierley Hall, and the Woodlands orthopaedic hospital on the outskirts. Within weeks of its launch as a trust, the hospital group announced 300 redundancies as part of a three-year programme to make pounds 7m- worth of savings.

Mark Baker, its first chief executive, resigned after only seven months, having been taken to task by the Commons health select committee for putting in a trust application it regarded as over-optimistic. The trust ended its first year last April pounds 1.7m overspent.

In a review of management arrangements in June this year, David Jackson, Dr Baker's successor, said a major overhaul was necessary to remedy the trust's failure to meet both its own objectives and its statutory obligations. 'I have become increasingly concerned that no one is 'in charge' of the two main institutions, St Luke's and the infirmary.'

This week, the trust is to publish ambitious plans to centre all its services in a new pounds 100m building on the St Luke's site. The blueprint for the complex, backed by the medical staff and due for completion in 2005, envisages a reduction in the trust's present beds from 1,370 to 850. The Department of Health said it had not sanctioned the proposals, but has asked the trust for a detailed business plan to support its case.

Private ambulance companies have backed Opposition calls for statutory regulation of their industry after the operator of Britain's first independent 999 service was revealed to be a convicted criminal.

Richard Sage, who runs Belmont Medicover Ambulance Services from an undertaker's premises in Woking, Surrey, was sentenced to five years in prison on six charges of fraud and deception in 1986, it emerged earlier this month. The company claimed it could provide a 'fast and efficient alternative' to the NHS 999 service for an annual subscription of pounds 35 per individual or pounds 65 for a family.

A recent survey by Paramedic UK, an association of private pre-hospital care specialists, of 200 private ambulance operators found that only 1 in 20 had staff trained to recommended NHS standards.

Priv-Amb Services, a Peterborough- based consultancy that advises around 40 independent ambulance services, believes a growing prevalence of 'cowboy operators' has made the case for regulation unanswerable. 'They have unqualified staff, ill-maintained equipment, and inadequate insurance,' a spokesman said. 'Without a form of compulsory registration, this type of trade will continue.'

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Voices
There will be a chance to bid for a rare example of the SAS Diary, collated by a former member of the regiment in the aftermath of World War II but only published – in a limited run of just 5,000 – in 2011
charity appealTime is running out to secure your favourite lot as our auction closes at 2pm tomorrow
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Caroline Flack became the tenth winner of Strictly Come Dancing
tvReview: 'Absolutely phenomenal' Xtra Factor presenter wins Strictly Come Dancing final
Life and Style
A still from the 1939 film version of Margaret Mitchell's 'Gone with the Wind'
life
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Arts and Entertainment
J Jefferson Farjeon at home in 1953
booksBooksellers say readers are turning away from modern thrillers and back to golden age of crime writing
Sport
Amir Khan is engaged in a broader battle than attempting to win a fight with Floyd Mayweather
boxing Exclusive: Amir Khan reveals plans to travel to Pakistan
News
Stacey Dooley was the only woman to be nominated in last month’s Grierson awards
mediaClare Balding and Davina McCall among those overlooked for Grierson awards
Voices
Joseph Kynaston Reeves arguing with Russell Brand outside the RBS’s London offices on Friday
voicesDJ Taylor: The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a worker's rant to Russell Brand
News
Twitchers see things differently, depending on their gender
scienceNew study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
News
i100
News
Xander van der Burgt, at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
scienceA Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Austen Lloyd: Senior Private Client Solicitor

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: SURREY - An outstanding high level opportunity...

Austen Lloyd: Construction Solicitor - London

Very Competitive Salary : Austen Lloyd: NICHE CITY FIRM - We are making a disc...

Austen Lloyd: Construction Solicitor - London

Very Competitive Salary : Austen Lloyd: NICHE CITY FIRM - We are making a disc...

Recruitment Genius: Finance Director

£65000 - £80000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Finance Director required to jo...

Day In a Page

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'
Marian Keyes: The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment

Marian Keyes

The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef creates an Italian-inspired fish feast for Christmas Eve

Bill Granger's Christmas Eve fish feast

Bill's Italian friends introduced him to the Roman Catholic custom of a lavish fish supper on Christmas Eve. Here, he gives the tradition his own spin…
Liverpool vs Arsenal: Brendan Rodgers is fighting for his reputation

Rodgers fights for his reputation

Liverpool manager tries to stay on his feet despite waves of criticism
Amir Khan: 'The Taliban can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'

Amir Khan attacks the Taliban

'They can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'
Michael Calvin: Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick